Why Did NBA Star Ricky Rubio Retire? He's Very Brave to Share the Reason

Melissa Willets - Author

Jan. 5 2024, Published 1:03 p.m. ET

Ricky Rubio #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on March 28, 2023
Source: Getty Images

Professional basketball player Ricky Rubio is ending his basketball career.

The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard courageously took to social media to share with fans why he decided to leave the sport that made him famous. His reasons for retiring are very personal.

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Read on to find out why Ricky — who previously played for the Utah Jazz — is retiring from the NBA at 33 years old and after a highly-regarded 12-year career. Also, see what fans are saying in the wake of his brave decision to open up about his mental health.

Ricky Rubio #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in game vs the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on March 12, 2023
Source: Getty Images
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So, why did Ricky Rubio retire from professional basketball?

On Jan. 4, 2024, Ricky took to Twitter to share a very raw and honest post about his reason for retiring from professional basketball.

He shared with his fans that over the summer, on the night of July 30, 2023, he endured "one of the toughest nights" of his life when his mind “went to a dark place.”

After describing a situation that was out of his control, Ricky said, "The next day, I decided to stop my professional career."

He went on to say that at this time, he won't be disclosing the specifics of what happened that night.

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“One day, when the time is right, I would love to share my full experience with you all so I can help support others going through similar situations,” Ricky admirably added. “Until then, I would like to keep it private out of respect for my family and myself, as I’m still working on my mental health. But I’m proud to say I’m doing much better and getting better everyday.”

According to ESPN, the star player and the last team he called home have agreed to a contract buyout, with the powers that be at the organization reportedly respecting Ricky's situation and choice to focus on his mental health rather than continue to play in the spotlight.

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Fans also support Ricky Rubio in his decision to retire.

After the commendable choice to be transparent with fans about his mental health, Ricky received support en masse on Twitter.

"Respect the vulnerability and the foresight into understanding happiness beyond what has defined you," one fan beautifully expressed, adding, "All the love and respect to you."

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Many other fans praised Ricky as being a "legend" and a "special player," with a plethora of folks commenting how they wish the former NBA star well in his journey upon his retirement.

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"Loved watching you play Ricky. NBA fans have your back," someone else tweeted. Indeed, over and over, fans from both Cleveland and Utah gushed about their deep admiration for Ricky and thanked him for the many positive memories he gave them during his career.

Finally, as one commenter bluntly yet quite appropriately put it, "Wishing you the best of luck. Mental health is no joke, and I hope you get the peace you’re looking for."

We second that very well-put notion.

If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.

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